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Sacramento County Boots Gibson Ranch Horse Riding Operator After 8-Year-Old Suffers Injuries

SACRAMENTO COUNTY (CBS13) — Ride over. Concerns over public safety have Sacramento County cutting ties with the operator of horseback riding services at Gibson Ranch.

The county termination letter sent to operator Trail Brothers points to claims of inadequate supervision and public endangerment.

The owner of Trail Brothers says his company has done nothing wrong.

The county's decision comes just after an 8-year-old girl's birthday ride went horribly wrong Photos show the girl, named Reece, before the ride wearing a shirt reading "Just a birthday girl who loves horses."

She went on a guided horseback ride at Gibson Ranch on August 14.

A photo shows her on her horse to start the ride, before her horse got spooked and threw her out of her saddle, leaving Reece badly banged up and in the hospital with a concussion, black eye, and cuts and bruises.

Trail Brothers has handled all the equestrian services at Gibson Ranch for the past two years until the birthday ride led to a county investigation—and then the termination letter reading the county's conclusion: "…this report confirmed that members of the general public have incurred serious injuries…" and "…the nature and severity of the incidents of record suggest that Trail Brothers has failed to exercise reasonable and due diligence."

Zack Leyden is the owner of Trial Brothers and says the day of the birthday ride, his horses were spooked by a bounce house near the trail set up without warning his guides.

He said falls are part of the risk of horseriding and the birthday incident was an outlier.

"It's devastating," Leyden said. "If someone gets hurt, I just wish that they would get back on, because it's an outlier, it's not normal, and it would break my heart to think my company is the reason someone doesn't want to get back on a horse."

The Trail Brothers' termination letter goes on to read the company is putting the county at "undue risk" and "unacceptable liability."

Reece is on the road to recovery. Her family says she is struggling with PTSD.

Now, Sacramento County is giving Trail Brothers until the end of the month to move out.

An attorney for Trail Brothers says he is asking the county to reconsider, and if it won't, to at least give Trail Brothers more time to find a new home for its thirty-plus horses.

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